How Would You Use Your Life Experiences To Better The Future?

For Jama Smith, her auction business is just one piece of her everyday life. Her passion for Junior Achievement (JA) has fueled her drive to be a corporate volunteer for the past 10 years, in which she has taught students from fourth-grade to high school.

She doesn’t just teach the program curriculum that JA provides, though. To add her own touch to the lessons, she incorporates the lessons she has learned in both her life and in business. One program she taught required the students to research careers, colleges and the concept of self-branding. She connected the concept with the students by explaining it as, “We understand that companies have brands… Do you have a brand? When you walk into a room, do people automatically think some things about you?” This was a question that all 20 students in her class knew from their own experience.

Life and work experiences do more than provide examples to the students. The sharing of experiences helps create a connection between the volunteer and the students. At  JA we believe that while we make it easy for volunteers to teach students about financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship; it's the volunteers that bring in their personal and professional experiences that make the programs exciting to the students.  

In the 2015-2016 JA program year, more than 230,000 volunteers gave their time to make an impact using their experience inside their classroom.

What life lessons would you want to share?

Click HERE to find out how you can connect with the future today!

 

Francisco, B. (2017, July 9). An auctioneer helps kids map careers | Local | Journal Gazette. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/20170709/an-auctioneer-helps-kids-map-careers

Transforming Students into Ideal Employees

According to a 2015 survey by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, 27 percent of Kentucky employers find it difficult to find workers with adequate “soft” skills. These soft skills include everything from effective communication to one’s ability to work in a team environment.  
 
Luckily for Kentucky, Junior Achievement (JA) of the Bluegrass’ JA Biz Town proved that the future of business looks bright. JA Biz Town focuses on teaching student’s entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness through a hands-on experience that they will never forget.  
 
The students begin their journey with their program volunteer, who teaches them the fundamentals of business. Once the 13 required lessons are completed, the students then move to the ultimate test when they are immersed into a simulated town (JA Biz Town) where they are in the driver’s seat. They choose a mayor through an election process, start their own businesses, learn how to professionally present themselves for jobs through mock interviews and even open bank accounts to deposit their paychecks. With their own checkbook, debit card and health card, students get an inside look at their future and gain a better understanding of their future roles in their community.
 
The students are not the only ones who get to have all of the fun. Local companies sponsor storefronts to help educate the future on how to own and operate a business on a day-to-day basis. Melissa Bacon, board chair for Fayette County Public Schools, stated, “ JA Biz Town / JA Finance Park is a very focused experience that we all believe will be a ‘game changer’ for our students and the entire Central Kentucky community. Our kids will enjoy an opportunity of a lifetime in which they can make adult decisions and actually learn first-hand how an economy works.”  
 
As for the business owners struggling to find well-rounded workers, have no fear. Your future employee is here – at JA Biz Town.  
 


Hailey, L. (2017, July 11). Workforce Development | A Living Lesson in Economics. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://www.lanereport.com/79338/2017/07/workforce-development-a-living-lesson-in-economics/

   

 

The Heat Is On

How would your teenage-self make a change for the future of your home state with $10,000?

This was part of the challenge the high school students involved in Junior Achievement of Northern California’s Social Innovation Camp encountered when they were brainstorming ways to bring about public awareness to the effects of climate change on the San Joaquin Valley.

The heat was on as 10 teams of high school students, who were complete strangers, gathered for 30 minutes to come up with a plan to address the issue at hand with a limited budget. They then were tasked with creating a presentation to display their plan to a panel of student and teacher-chaperone judges.

The high schoolers showed their innovative thinking by coming up with solutions that ranged from envisioning matching-grant social networking challenges and PSAs to conceptualizing recycling programs that targeted elementary schools.

Dina Siebenaler, an economics teacher at Kingsburg High School, commented, “It was a great experience for the students and they definitely learned a lot about public speaking, working with students from other schools, and researching a difficult social issue to inspire our community to make changes.”

The winning team came up with a plan that addressed the drought issue of the San Joaquin Valley, which has plagued this California region for many years. The San Joaquin Valley, according to Suburban Stats, is home to over 685,000 people, all of whom depend on water to drink, bathe, grow crops, and hydrate livestock. The solution of student Noelia Avila’s winning team revolved around an app that could track real-time water usage in homes so that households could be more aware of their water intake.

The winning team benefitted from more than the financial and climate challenge when they were asked about their experience. “I enjoyed how we were treated as adults to make the choices about our project. I also enjoyed that our group was independent to make our own decisions. I learned that it is difficult to put yourself out there in a situation where you don’t know anyone besides people at your school,” Avila said. “I also learned how important it is to work with everyone in your group, even if it is sometimes difficult to agree on the direction of the project.”

The runner-up team planned to implement an educational campaign, which included an app to teach elementary school children about the drought in the valley as well as learning the ways they could save water.

Throughout the competition, one thing was certain, California’s future looks brighter with the help of these innovative students.

To learn more about students who have made an impact on their community click HERE

 

Brown, Laura . "Students tackle climate change ." The Kingsburg Recorder . N.p., 21 July 2017. Web. 8 Aug. 2017. http://hanfordsentinel.com/kingsburg_recorder/news/students-tackle-climate-change/article_9bc4ff11-a8a9-5eda-a0f1-17003068cc6a.html

The Present Teaching the Future

How would you feel standing in a class of 30 students teaching them principles they would use for the rest of their lives? Honored? Nervous? Excited? Empowered?

In the 2015-2016 school year, a total of 237,680 volunteers across the nation stepped up to teach 4,803,046 students from kindergarten to high school real-world concepts in areas of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship with programs provided by Junior Achievement (JA).

For a group of Business Honors Program (BHP) students from the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce, studying advanced principles of business was not enough. The BHP students decided to take a reverse role, going from college student to teacher for their local community of Tuscaloosa.

The Culverhouse Business Honors Program “provides opportunities for outstanding Culverhouse undergraduates to enrich their business education. The program emphasizes class presentations by students, faculty, business leaders, and campus recruiters, as well as independent research and project work over two years of undergraduate study.”

These bright business students; studying accounting, marketing, management, finance, and economics, dedicated a total of 1,500 volunteer hours to various nonprofits in their community. Fortunately, one of the nonprofits was Junior Achievement in Tuscaloosa. College students who participated in teaching students in their local schools not only shared their passion for business but they were also able to impact the future of the Tuscaloosa community.

Senior and finance major Cameron Hudson’s experiences through BHP taught her more than just how to calculate the time value of money or financial ratio analysis. “BHP has been a wonderful opportunity to network for my future career, gain hands-on experience through project work and make a difference in the Tuscaloosa community,” said Hudson.

It was through their hands-on experience that these college students saw an area for further involvement. At the end of teaching their JA program, the BHP students found another way to give back by taking it upon themselves to recruit more Junior Achievement volunteers. Their volunteer recruiting efforts brought in enough volunteer power to cover more than 400 JA classes, which meant even more students in their community would learn the necessary life skills through financial literacy programs and work readiness curriculum.

Carla Harris, the senior program manager with Junior Achievement in Tuscaloosa, stated, “The reason that I love Business Honors is because of that group of students—they’re self-starters; they’re dependable.”

With BHP continuing their fourth year of volunteering with JA in Tuscaloosa, the past and present business owners can rest easy knowing that the future is bright.

To learn more about making an impact in your community, click HERE

 

Grider , O. (2017, July 29). Students in UA's Business Honors Program gain real-world experience by helping nonprofits improve operations and complete projects. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://cesr.ua.edu/students-in-uas-business-honors-program-gain-real-world-experience-by-helping-nonprofits-improve-operations-and-complete-projects/

A Community Powered By Caffeine

Who’s making your venti soy latte?

Meet 26-year old Washington Starbucks store manager, Steven Perez. Not only is he the store manager for the South Hill Starbucks in Washington and the coach for the Emerald Ridge High School’s football team, but he is also an advocate for Junior Achievement.

His community involvement was acknowledged earlier this year when Starbucks’ executive vice president, president U.S. Retail, Kris Engskov and company leaders applauded his hard work to establish community connections throughout the Washington Puyallup area.

Perez responded, “Wherever we are, our mission is to be involved in the community. We don’t want to just be a coffee company, we want to be a people company.”

Coach Perez became even more involved with his community when he volunteered in the Puyallup School District’s “Ignite the Future” program which teaches students in junior high basic skills for the working world. His involvement in the local high school aligns with Starbucks avocation for Junior Achievement’s ability to teach students skills for the working world. Topics taught in this school program range from balancing a checkbook to practicing interviewing skills, the soft skills that are highly important in today’s workforce.

To honor Perez’ impact on the Puyallup region’s youth, Perez was recognized by the Puyallup School District’s chief operations officer for his success in helping teach students life skills and being awarded the honorary Starbucks Pacific Northwest coin by the Starbucks executive vice president.

From managing a community-focused Starbucks to teaching high school student’s football and skills for the working world one thing is for certain, Perez has made his mark on the future of Puyallup community.

 

Want more uplifting community impact stories? Click HERE

 

Needles, A. (2017, July 18). Starbucks shines spotlight on Puyallup store manager. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/community/puyallup-herald/ph-news/article162266563.html

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